A cup might seem like the best way to measure out dry pet food, but research from the University of Guelph finds that when it comes to getting portions right, pet owners often get it wrong.
The study, designed to test pet owners' measuring skills, found owners were often inaccurate, ranging from a 48 percent underestimation to a 152 percent overestimation, depending on the device they used and the amount they tried to portion out.
"We found it particularly concerning to see how often participants over-measured the assigned portions, particularly given that there is an ongoing problem with pet obesity. Owners can easily overfeed their animals if they don't measure out portions correctly, putting their animals at risk of several obesity-related diseases," Prof. Jason Coe said.
The solution, Coe said, is for pet owners to change their approach to measuring dry food. The gold standard would be to use a kitchen scale to weigh out portions. Second to that option is a container with a single (exact) amount marked, e.g. 1 cup. Problems often happen when owners need to 'eyeball' a 1 cup amount within a 2 cup container.
"That finding has important implications for small dogs, since they typically receive smaller volumes of food. Even a small amount of over measuring for a small dog can be a considerable increase in their daily caloric intake putting them at risk of weight gain from too much food," said Coe, who is a researcher with the Department of Population Medicine.
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